Two diverse businessmen, business partners shaking hands at window

After June’s addition of 938,000 jobs (adjusted from the 850,000 jobs previously reported), nonfarm payroll employment went up another 943,000 jobs in July, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The unemployment rate also improved in July, dropping from 5.9% to 5.4%. The total number of unemployed people fell from 9.5 to 8.7 million.

Unemployment decreases for all major worker groups

All major worker groups experienced a drop in unemployment rates for the month of July:

  • Adult men: 5.4% (5.9% in June)
  • Adult women: 5.0% (5.5% in June)
  • Teenagers: 9.6% (9.9% in June)
  • Black/African American: 8.2% (9.2% in June)
  • Hispanic/Latino: 6.6% (7.4% in June)
  • Asian: 5.3% (5.8% in June)
  • White: 4.8% (5.2% in June)

Declines in job loss and pandemic impacts

The number of people experiencing temporary layoffs fell by 572,000 to 1.2 million in July, while those experiencing permanent job loss dropped by 257,000 to 2.9 million.

Short- and long-term unemployment also changed little in July. Those who’ve been jobless for five weeks or less increased slightly and included 2.3 million people. And the number of those who’ve been unemployed for six months or more declined to 3.4 million people — that’s 39.3% of the total number of unemployed and 2.3 million people above February 2020’s number.

The labor force participation rate stayed about the same, coming in at 61.7% in July. This rate has stayed between 61.4% and 61.7% since June 2020 and is currently 1.6% behind its pre-pandemic status. 

The percentage of employees who teleworked because of the pandemic fell from 14.4% to 13.2% in July. The number of those unable to work due to the pandemic is also steadily declining, falling from 6.2 to 5.2 million people. However, those unable to look for work because of pandemic-related reasons remained at 1.6 million people for the month.

Continued growth for leisure and hospitality

The most job gains were again in the leisure and hospitality industry — the industry added 380,000 jobs in July, primarily in food services and drinking places (253,000). However, the industry is still 1.7 million jobs behind February 2020. 

Professional and business services employment increased by 60,000 in July. The majority of those jobs (43,000) were within professional and technical services, which is now 121,000 jobs above its pre-pandemic level. 

Other industry sectors with notable job gains included:

  • Local government education (221,000) and private education (40,000)
  • Transportation and warehousing (50,000)
  • Other services (39,000)
  • Healthcare (37,000)

Despite increases over the past two months, retail trade lost 6,000 jobs in July.

More than half of companies plan to add jobs in the second half of 2021, and Americans are feeling increased pressure to seek employment due to the expiration of pandemic-related benefits. This could spark accelerated job growth as we move toward the end of the year.